Reflecting on Homecoming….

Yesterday my daughter Tori returned home after a week-long trip to Minnesota.  A bus load of high school youth, from across Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, shared a long bus ride to attend the Episcopal Youth Event, held on the campus of Bethel University.  The bus arrived later than expected, so I walked the labyrinth while I waited.  Pilgrims of old who could not travel to the Holy Land would travel to a cathedral like Chartres to walk a labyrinth.  This labyrinth is next to a very busy road with a bus stop, so at first the traffic noises were distracting.  I was impatient to see Tori after a week away, so each time a bus pulled up, I thought her bus had arrived.  Yet very quickly, all those distractions fell away and I became absorbed in the labyrinth.  Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has one way in, and one way out.  The path reverses itself often, and leads you to the edge just before arriving in the center.  Just as I departed the labyrinth, the bus arrived.  The youth alternated between greeting their parents and one last round of hugs amongst each other.  It seemed this farewell was a lot like the labyrinth.  Homecoming is always bittersweet, especially when a trip is packed with happy memories.  We are so happy to be home, yet unwilling to let go of our recent experiences and new found friends.  Tori commented on how different the return trip on the bus was from the trip out. In the beginning of the journey, the youth did not know each other well, and stuck with a few friends they already knew.  On the way back, everyone kept switching seats, because they all had become friends.  So it is with homecomings.  We return home with new friends, new experiences, new perspectives.  Perhaps homecoming is a lot like the labyrinth, seeing the same things from different perspectives, integrating what you have learned into familiar settings, that somehow seem different, yet the same.  Take time today to reflect on what homecoming means to you, or on a journey that changed your perspective, and perhaps even the course of your life.  Reach out to a friend that shared that journey, and those memories.  Or perhaps, to walk a labyrinth.  Photo, and labyrinth, by St Luke’s Episcopal Church, Bethseda, MD

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